United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. LEE United States District Judge
Eugene Horton, an Illinois prisoner, has filed a pro
se petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. He claims that the Illinois Prisoner Review
Board's 2014 decision to deny him parole violated various
constitutional and state law provisions and that he is
actually innocent of the murder for which he was convicted.
Respondents Kimberly Butler, Warden of Menard Correctional
Center, and Adam Monreal, Acting Chairman of the Prisoner
Review Board, respond that Horton fails to state an adequate
claim for relief. For the reasons given below, the Court
denies some of Horton's claims on the merits and
dismisses the rest.
Factual and Procedural Background
1971, Horton was convicted of murder in the Circuit Court of
Cook County. He was sentenced to 100 to 150 years of
imprisonment. See People v. Horton, 304 N.E.2d 21,
23 (Ill.App.Ct. 1973); Pet. Writ Habeas, Ex. C, Prisoner
Review Board Rationale, ECF No. 1. He has unsuccessfully
challenged this conviction with at least two previous habeas
corpus petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See U.S. ex
rel. Horton v. Detella, No. 95-cv-3232, 1996 WL 543320,
at *1 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 23, 1996).
has also sought to be released on parole. When the Illinois
Prisoner Review Board denied his 1982 parole request, Horton
challenged that decision in a petition under § 2254,
claiming that his parole hearing had not complied with the
requirements of due process. The district court agreed with
Horton and granted the petition, ordering a new parole
hearing. See Horton v. Irving, 553 F.Supp. 213, 218
(N.D. Ill. 1982). The basis for the court's decision was
U.S. ex rel. Scott v. Illinois Parole and Pardon
Board, 669 F.2d 1185 (7th Cir. 1982), in which the
Seventh Circuit had held that due process protections apply
in Illinois's parole hearings because the governing
statute created a presumption of release. Id. at
1190. At the time Scott was decided, there was
“no authoritative state court decision”
interpreting the relevant portion of Illinois's parole
statute. Id. at 1189.
the district court's grant of Horton's petition, the
Prisoner Review Board held a second parole hearing. This
hearing went Horton's way, and he was released on parole.
But within a few months he was arrested for armed robbery.
Pet., Ex. C, Prisoner Review Board Rationale. He was
subsequently convicted of the robbery in the Circuit Court of
Cook County and sentenced to an additional sixty years of
imprisonment. Id. Naturally, his parole was also
2014, Horton sought parole once more. After holding a
hearing, the Prisoner Review Board denied his request, citing
a poor disciplinary record and concerns about his respect for
the law. Id. Horton then filed his current petition
under § 2254. In it, he challenges the denial of his
2014 parole request on several grounds. He also challenges
his conviction for murder, but he does not challenge his
armed robbery conviction.
Horton's petition liberally, the Court understands him to
be asserting five claims:
1) His 2014 parole hearing did not comply with the
requirements of due process.
2) The Prisoner Review Board's decision to deny him
parole violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution.
3) Aspects of the parole hearing violated Illinois statutes.
4) He is actually innocent of murder.
5) His confinement constitutes cruel and unusual punishment
in violation of ...